Wed
22
Oct

Four Years of Buchanan High with Welcome Back Kotter Complete Series

Welcome Back Kotter, The Complete Series

A series doesn't have to be long-running to be long-remembered. For evidence of that, look to Welcome Back Kotter, the Gabe Kaplan comedy vehicle which starred Kaplan as Gabe Kotter, a high school remedial education teacher returning to his Brooklyn alma mater, Buchanan High, to educate and mentor a class of misfits who've named themselves The Sweathogs.

The series only ran for four years -- fitting, since that's how long high school should last -- but the Sweathogs, the irascible Mr. Woodman (John Sylvester White), the recipes of Julie Kotter (Marcia Strassman), and Kotter's endless supply of uncles who inspired so many stories, made an indelible impression on American audiences. Lunch boxes, comic books -- the usual marketing machine engines were fired up to feed the audience as much Kotter as they could handle.

Wed
22
Oct

McPike Mansion Focus of Dave Glover 2014 Halloween Tradition

The McPike Mansion in Alton, IL

Saint Louis is a town of quirks and traditions. We toast our ravioli. We warsh our cars before driving them down Route farty-far. We make little trick-or-treaters tell us jokes when they come to our door. And if we have a radio, we tune in Dave Glover on FM 97.1 for his annual Halloween show.

Dave's first Halloween show began on a lark, based off of his fondness for the Don Knotts classic film, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." And since St. Louis and the surrounding area is host to a plethora of historic haunts, he thought it would be fun to find some people who profess to be chickens and have them face their fears in a rumored haunted house.

Tue
21
Oct

Goodman, Crystal Reunite for Monsters University Short

Monsters University Party Central

Who doesn't love a free film, even if it's a short one? Disney•Pixar has released online the new Monsters University short, "Party Central," part of a Halloween Spooktacular! The film is currently available for iPhone or iPad, or at DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com. (Psst! You can download the app at http://di.sn/hvV.)

Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles as Mike and Sully, who return to Oozma Kappa for a party with their frat brothers. When nobody shows up, the two buddies hatch a plan to make sure "Party Central" is the most epic party the campus has ever seen!

Check out the clip below for just a taste.

 

Tue
21
Oct

Second Rudderhaven Anthology Offers SF/F Epiphanies and Revelations

Rudderhaven Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology II

I love anthologies. The stories are short, there's enough of them that you're likely to find a handful that you really enjoy, and they're ultimately re-readable, and on second and third passes, you may find the stories you skipped the first go-round end up surprising you later when your mood shifts.

Mon
20
Oct

Archon 38: Impressions from a First Time Attendee

Archon 38 is a science fiction convention that ran from October 3 through 5, 2014 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Illinois. I had intended on attending for at least two days, but unfortunately some personal matters prevented me from meeting that goal and I was only able to attend until mid-evening on October 3rd.  I was able; however, to draw some good impressions from the show and am excited to return for next year’s event, assuming my luck is a little more cooperative.

Mon
20
Oct

truTV Unveils Captivating Artform in Fake Off

Fake Off Host Rob Hoffman

Next Monday, truTV debuts a new competition that could bill itself as "So You Think You Can Interpretive Dance?" Except that wouldn't truly cover all the bases of the art form known as "Faking." This demonstrates to me just how far off the Cool Meter I've fallen in my dotage, as I had never heard of such a thing before. Apparently, faking is "a mix of theater, acrobatics, black light and illusion." It's kind of like Cirque du Soleil, but more street.

Mon
20
Oct

CD Giveaway Contest: "Christmas on the Farm with Farmer Jason"

CD cover - Christmas on the Farm with Farmer Jason

Inspired by his own kids, Jason Ringenberg of Jason & the Scorchers fame developed the persona of “Farmer Jason,” entertaining children with rocking tunes based on his own childhood growing up on a farm. Three albums later it's time for a Christmas album!

The record contains 12 Christmas songs featuring six new original compositions that conceptually deal with the farming connections to Christmas.

“I think ‘Eat Your Fruitcake’ is my favorite original on the record,” he laughs. “Let’s face it folks: throwing those holiday fruitcakes away is using up our landfills!”

When it ends, change the article to include this at the top:

This contest has ended.

The winner is JIM L. of So. Lyon, MI.

Sun
19
Oct

Swedish Thriller LFO Delivers Low Key, High Concept Sci-Fi

LFO

Dark Sky Films delivers a Swedish treat that explores all the dark corners of the average put-upon man. In LFO (which stands for low frequency oscillations), sound engineer Robert Nord (Patrik Karlson) is a socially inept Walter Mitty personality who discovers a combination of sound frequencies that serve to immediately bypass and shut down the brain's sensory receptors. It not only puts the body into a state of complete relaxation, but it opens the mind to accept commands. In short, LFO's conceit is the ultimate in mind-control fantasy, put into the hands of a man with no immediate long-range plans on how to use it.

Sat
18
Oct

Archon 38 Encounter: The Art of BatSpats

Michelle Benz of BatSpats

Archon 38 continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! Nestled amongst the many vendors set up in the expansive dealers room, I chanced upon a chillingly familiar looking couple: The Joker and Harley Quinn!

But there was no need to scream or fire up the Bat-signal: this was the booth for Michelle Benz, the creative genius behind BatSpats.com, and some intriguing and refreshing takes on familiar comic book characters as well as other pop culture icons and tropes.

Here's a snippet of the encounter. Enjoy!

Sat
18
Oct

Witching & Bitching Bubbling To Become Cult Classic

Witching & Bitching on DVD

“Witching & Bitching” is a campy, off the cuff, over the top sci-fi comedy that just screams to be the next cult classic. This film by Alex De La Iglesia is made in Spain with English subtitles and is available on DVD from IFC films.

Fri
17
Oct

IDW Does America a Favor with Puck Collection

Puck from IDW

A picture, so the expression goes, is worth a thousand words. That being the case, the political cartoon is worth a thousand words and change, the art form being one that conjoins the satirical image with paucity of pithy text. Which brings us to one of the pioneers of the form: the magazine called Puck, the subject of this lavish (and heavy!) compendium from IDW and The Library of American Comics.

Fri
17
Oct

CD Giveaway Contest: Cheryl Barnes, "Listen to This"

Cheryl Barnes, "Listen to This"

Cheryl Barnes wants you to Listen to This, her debut five years in the making.and steeped in Jazz and Blues. It features a stellar list of sidemen including Brandon Fields on Sax, John Hammond on Piano, and Rickey Minor on Bass with Orchestration by John Beasley. Best of all, she has signed it with her best wishes on the front cover!

This contest has ended.

The winner is LEEANN C. of Bedford, KY.

Thu
16
Oct

American Dad! Promotional Giveaway Contest

American Dad! TBS promotional

This contest has ended. The randomly selected winning entry is Audrey C. of Richlands, NC.

American Dad! is moving to TBS!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Critical Blast is happy to present this one of a kind (okay, technically it's one of 1400, with this one specifically being number 342) matted print, featuring all your favorite American Dad! characters spoofing a classic "Indiana Jones" scene.

This print is mounted on some sort of foam board to make it good and stiff, and the back has a hanger so you can put it on your wall, and a fold-out prop-up thingy in case you want to set it on your desktop.

Whatever it is, it's pretty darn cool, and if you're an American Dad! fan, you already know you want it. So enter your information in the form below and pray to Uncle Sam that you get picked as the random lucky winner!

Thu
16
Oct

American Dad! Repatriates to TBS

American Dad, "Blonde Ambition"

American Dad!, the irrverent comedy from Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman which follows the clueless patriotic CIA Agent, Stan Smith (MacFarlane), is leaving FOX and making the transition over to TBS. That means cable, which means things can get even more wild than they did before.

Wed
15
Oct

Chicks Dig Zombies

Walking Dead Preferred by Females over Males

Women prefer the walking dead at a rate of 62% over the 38% of males. Of course, we mean the AMC show The Walking Dead, not actual zombies (unless you're into the strong, silent type, who really is into you for your brains).

This statistic comes from the social analytics firm, StatSocial, which compiled the statistics based on Twitter data tracked from the week of October 7th through October 13th and a pool of 651,000 tweets. If you're a zombie on the prowl, look for a 25 to 34 year old woman in Texas (although New York City or Los Angeles would be your better bets).

For a breakdown on the numbers, check out the infographic below.

 

 

Wed
15
Oct

IDW Publishes Complete Wonder Woman Newspaper Strips

Wonder Woman The Complete Newspaper Strip 1944 1945

When you have someone list three superheroes off the top of their heads, without thinking, they usually recite the holy trinity of heroes by rote: Superman, Batman...and Wonder Woman. They've been on top of the media since they began, not just in comic books, but also in newspaper strips and (later) animated cartoons.

Wonder Woman's newspaper strip didn't have what one could call a lengthy run, but it certainly was an interesting one. William Moulton Marston, inventor of the polygraph and dabbler in polyamory and bondage play, introduced the need for a feminine hero while he sat on the editorial board for DC Comics. Tasked with creating the character, Marston gave the world Wonder Woman -- an Amazon princess with powers from the Greek gods.

Wed
15
Oct

CD Giveaway Contest: Evie Archer, "Life in Sand"

Evie Archer, "Life in Sand"

New Jersey singer/songwriter Evie Archer is creeping up on her career in music. She started writing early but unveiled “On Christmas Day” only last holiday season, and her debut album Life in Sand is now available, with its single "Close To You” breaking through the Adult Contemporary (A/C) music charts.

This contest has ended.

The winner is RA C. of Salem, MO.

Tue
14
Oct

Rudders Chart Course to Science Fiction and Fantasy Haven

Rudderhaven Publications

Some people attend science fiction conventions to meet their favorite authors. Some go to see friends they haven't seen since the last convention. Some go to take in the sights and sounds, and some go to buy goodies not on display in regular stores.

And some people go to meet publishers, to network, to find a home for their next story. And if the wayward author is fortunate, he crosses paths with someone like Douglas Rudder, of RudderHaven Publications. That's what this author did, when attending this year's Archon 38. Here is Douglas and his family, discussing the goals of Rudderhaven Publications, and the anthology books they had currently with them -- as well as the anthologies planned for the future.

Tue
14
Oct

Shuggie Otis "Live in Williamsburg" Slow Start to a Slow Jam

Shuggie Otis, Live in Williamsburg

Shuggie Otis. Not a name I'd ever heard before, despite his legacy (he's the son of Johnny Otis, and turned down an opportunity from Billy Preston to replace Mick Taylor for The Rolling Stones' world tour, for those who are as uninformed as I was). But I do love me some blues guitar, no matter who's playing it, so I was eager to give this album a try.

This is a live album, and has all the foibles and missteps one expects from such a venture. I urge the new listener to persevere past the first few opening tracks. I felt the band had not quite warmed up yet, musically or vocally, and it showed in several places, although the guitar work was superb. About the time you get to track number five, "Me and My Woman," this album starts to take off in a major fashion.

 

Mon
13
Oct

Titan Comics Kick Off Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor with "Terrorformer"

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald on the cover of Titan Comics Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #1

"Terrorformer" is the first comic book representation of Doctor Who as portrayed by Peter Capaldi, and, given what I've seen of the current series and the new Doctor's eccentricities, writer Robbie Morrison has accurately captured the essence of this version of the Timelord from Gallifrey.

The Doctor and Clara arrive on Isen VI, chose for Clara's skiing lessons because of it's icebound climate. Only Isen VI isn't so icebound any longer -- it's a lush tropical paradise, thanks to a team of engineers laboring in the employ of a multi-kajillionaire who wants his own planet. And as is to be expected, the technology goes in an unexpected direction.

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